A burning sensation flows through a pair of legs. They beg for an end, but there is no time to stop; they must continue on. As the runner pushes forward, the finish line comes into view, and it is finally time to delve into the last ounces of stored energy. Sprinting hard, he finally crosses the finish line after a grueling multi-mile race.
Freshman Darius Groves has begun his first season as a member of the Northwestern State University cross country team.
Groves explained that he had a later introduction to the cross country world than most of his teammates, though this hasn’t seemed to hinder his success.
“I was a junior [when] I joined cross country. I had never really thought about doing it before until one of my friends told me to,” the new distance runner said.
He qualified for state finals and placed 38th his junior year as a runner for DeRidder High School; during his senior year, he not only qualified for state finals again but placed sixth overall.
Groves continues to impress with the same high level of performance as he did in high school, placing seventh overall at the University of Louisiana at Monroe Warhawk Invite on Sept. 1 and 15th overall at the Louisiana Tech Mook Triple-Duals Sept. 16.
The transition from high school to college has proved to be a slight challenge for Groves.
“We have to practice at six o’clock in the morning almost every day, and there is a lot less time to get things done with practice, school and studying,” he said. “There is enough time, but you have to [find how to] fit everything in.”
Time management is not the only challenge he has faced since coming to NSU; he is currently recovering from a pulled leg muscle and hopes to be healed in time for the next cross country meet at McNeese State University Sept. 30.
“We have to do everything we can to keep our bodies healthy and ready for the meets by eating well and not eating a bunch of junk food and making sure to drink a bunch of water,” he explained.
Even though he has experienced difficulties, Groves said he enjoys his time on the team.
“My favorite part is not the running; it’s being with my teammates,” he said.
Groves mentioned that there is only one thing he wished he knew before coming to NSU to be part of the cross country team: “I [just] wish someone told me that we had to be up at 6 a.m.,” he laughed.